Double Up Food Bucks

How Michigan’s healthy food incentive program is benefiting families, farmers, and local economies

Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks (Double Up) program makes it easier for low-income Americans to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting family farmers and growing local economies.

Here’s how it works. Double Up provides Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries with a one-to-one match to purchase healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

 

Double Up Food Bucks - Farmer and Family

The wins are three-fold: families bring home more healthy food, local farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each creates a ripple effect across the community.

Since 2009, Double Up has expanded from five farmers markets in Detroit to more than 150 sites across Michigan with the support of nearly 40 foundations. Double Up has also been at the forefront of innovations in healthy food incentives, expanding the model to grocery stores and developing new mobile payment systems.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) includes $100 million to support the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grants program, a new national healthy produce effort modeled after successful programs such as Double Up. Learn more.

When more Americans buy healthy food from local farmers, everyone wins.

Families have healthier choices.

  • Since 2009, SNAP customers have bought 3+ million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables with SNAP and Double Up.
  • 93% of participating SNAP users at farmers markets report eating more fruits and vegetables, including more varieties, because of the program. Just as important, 83% report buying fewer low-nutrition snacks.

Farmers get a financial boost.

  • In five years, Michigan farmers have earned $5+ million with SNAP and Double Up.
  • 90% of participating farmers report selling more fruits and vegetables; 85% report making more money.

Local economies thrive.

  • In five years, SNAP sales at Michigan farmers markets have grown to $1.7 million, among the top five states in the nation and the highest in the Midwest, yet less than 4% of all SNAP participants live in the state.
  • SNAP recipients stimulate economic activity and opportunity within their communities—a dollar spent at a farmers market can generate $2.80 for the community’s economy. (Sonntag, V. “Why Local Linkages Matter: Findings from the Local Food Economy Study.” Seattle, Washington, Sustainable Seattle. April 2008)

Onward

From examining the economic benefits of healthy food incentives to field-testing new innovations in Michigan to developing a toolkit to support national expansion—our work has just begun.

Dig Deeper

Check out our new Double Up Food Bucks Five-Year Report (coming soon!).

The Double Up Model & Toolkit

Double Up is unique among the growing field of incentive programs nationwide. The program and associated tools have been compiled into a toolkit to support others in bringing it to their communities.

Double Up Grocery Project

Our experience at farmers markets was brought to grocery stores in 2013 in one of the first pilots in the nation.

Evaluation

From annual evaluations to deeper dives into health impacts and technology innovations, we are committed to serious evaluation of our work. Evaluation results have informed program design and implementation, policy discussions, and the development of the Double Up toolkit.

Find a Participating Site

Visit doubleupfoodbucks.org to learn more about the program and find a participating site near you.

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